Recently the archbishop of Detroit, the Most Rev. Alan Vigneron, issued a pastoral note entitled, “The Day of the Lord.” I would like to share with you some of his comments about the importance of reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day, “a day set apart for the Lord, for family and for works of mercy. There are many necessary and worthwhile pursuits which occupy our time and energy all throughout the week but from the earliest days of the Church, Sunday was unique for Catholics. In our time, Sunday has slowly lost its pride of place.”
“First and foremost, Sunday is the day of the Resurrection of Jesus to new life. It is the day that definitively marked Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and it is the day that represents that in Jesus we too share in this same victory through our baptism. Therefore, Sunday is not an ordinary day, not just another day of the week. Every Sunday is a mini-Easter Sunday! It is right to say that Sunday is truly the Lord’s Day”.
“The first way we keep Sunday holy is through our worship of the Triune God. This is done most perfectly in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we offer back to the Father the very life of the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, the disciples of Jesus made it a hallmark to gather as a community of believers on this day.”
“Our communal worship flows out of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into many other areas: sharing in the Eucharist is the heart of Sunday, but the duty to keep Sunday holy cannot be reduced to this. Eucharistic adoration, personal prayer, reciting the Rosary, time for catechesis and Bible studies, faith sharing groups and the like all are ways families and individuals honor the Lord’s Day beyond Sunday Mass. We are called to live this whole day in recognition that we are God’s people, intimately united through the blood of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“Our rest on this day also imitates the first ‘rest’ of God after the work of creation: ‘he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.’ God teaches us the value of work but he also teaches us the value of rest. Too often in our world we are valued by how busy we are. This ‘cult of busyness’ is not of the Lord. Taking the Lord’s Day not to be busy with the affairs of the world but rather to rest in more important pursuits honors God and helps us to show him more perfectly to our world.”
“When work becomes the most important thing in our lives, we value ourselves and others by what they can contribute rather than by who they are. This leads to devaluing of human life which Pope St. John Paul II called the ‘culture of death,’ and which Pope Francis calls ‘the throwaway culture.’ We are not valued by what we can contribute to society. Instead our worth comes from what God has done for us: We are made in God’s image and likeness, and Christ has died for us. When we choose to make Sunday a day of rest, we choose to renounce the false cultures and live as part of Christ’s band of disciples.”
I will share more of Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral note next week. May we take his words to heart and reclaim Sunday as the Lord’s Day!
– Fr. Dennis, June 23, 2019